Overcome by an Evil Non-Christian Cult
Release Date: June 13, 2014
Starring: Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz,
Kate Lyn Shell, AJ Bowen, Gene
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: E: ** Overcome by an Evil
Non-Christian Cult **
Distributor: Magnet Releasing/Magnolia
Director: Ti West
Executive Producer: Maria Cestone, Stuart Ford,
Sarah E. Johnson, Hoyt David
Morgan, Eric Newman, Ti West
Producer: Jacob Jaffke, Peter Phok, Eli
Writer: Ti West
Address Comments To:Bill Banowski, CEO, Magnolia Pictures (Magnet Releasing)
1614 West 5th St.
Austin, TX 78703
Eamon Bowles, President, Magnolia Pictures (Magnet Releasing)
43 West 27th St., 7th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 924-6701; Fax: (212) 924-6742
Website: www.magpictures.com; Email: info@ magpictures.com
The movie follows a fictional crew and reporters from the HBO documentary series “Vice,” as they go to visit a compound called “Eden’s Parish” in South America. One of the reporters was invited to visit by his sister, who’s become a major leader in the compound.
At first, the residents seem happy despite giving up all normal worldly trappings and communication abilities. The reporters manage to convince the cult leader, Father, to let them interview him on camera at a church meeting the first night.
However, when the interview turns sour because of the reporter’s probing questions, the cracks in the façade of the happy camp and its campers start to show. Over the next day, Father becomes paranoid and tries to throw the reporters out of the compound. Then, many of the seemingly happy residents beg to be taken away with the reporters on their helicopter, and things go from bad to worse in a hurry. This leads the cult leader to order his followers to drink Kool-Aid laced with poison because he wants everyone to die rather than his evil cult be exposed to the world.
As this final stretch of pandemonium occurs, the movie is unbelievably intense in its suspense and atmosphere. However, the language gets fairly profane as the characters are running for their lives.
Writer-director Ti West continues his string of well-made, alternative-style horror movies (THE LIGHTKEEPERS, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL), which are re-teaching the horror movie industry how to get better scares out of small budgets. He relies on genuine suspense more than blood and guts, although there are more gruesome deaths and injuries here than his prior films.
THE SACRAMENT makes it clear that it is not mocking Christianity as a whole, but rather telling the story of a specific cult and rogue leader. The parallels to Jonestown and the David Koresh compound raid disaster in Waco in 1993 are fascinating, and offer a reminder that anyone can mislead the masses in a society where people can feel like outsiders at any time.
Overall, THE SACRAMENT is a wild, sometimes fascinating ride. However, it’s definitely made for adult eyes only. Also, the foul language and violence gets too extreme. Finally, the reporters try to rescue the cult’s victims but they end up failing. So, MOVIEGUIDE® ultimately finds THE SACRAMENT unacceptable, despite some positive moral elements.
THE SACRAMENT gets unbelievably intense and suspenseful when pandemonium breaks out in the second half. Thus, THE SACRAMENT is a wild, sometimes fascinating ride. However, it’s definitely for adults only, because the strong foul language and violence gets too extreme. Also, the reporters try to rescue the cult’s victims but fail. Ultimately, THE SACRAMENT is unacceptable viewing, despite some positive moral elements.